The Austrian People’s Party: An Anti-Immigrant Right Party.

In a new paper with Leila Hadj Abdou, we examine the profile of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) with regard to immigration. While we put a question mark in the title of the article, we conclude in the affirmative: Yes, we can consider the ÖVP an anti-immigrant party.

To reach this conclusion, we systematically examine the electoral manifestos of the party between 1994 and 2019 — following work I have done with Laura Morales. We can demonstrate that in the past the ÖVP held more ambiguous positions, but especially after 2017 the party has positioned itself more clearly against immigration, especially Muslim immigrants and their descendants as a ‘cultural other’ to the Austrian population. We argue that this change is due to the restructuring of the ÖVP into a leadership party.

Hadj-Abdou, Leila, and Didier Ruedin. 2021. ‘The Austrian People’s Party: An Anti-Immigrant Right Party?’ Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.

Ruedin, Didier, and Laura Morales. 2019. ‘Estimating Party Positions on Immigration: Assessing the Reliability and Validity of Different Methods’. Party Politics 25 (3): 303–14.

The Politicization of Immigration in Portugal between 1995 and 2014: A European Exception?

Out now, an extension of the SOM project to Portugal.

Notwithstanding the doubling of the foreign population settled in the country in the early 2000s, the diminished salience and the absence of significant political conflict suggest that immigration failed to become politicized in Portugal.

Happy to see this published, and excellent to see my figures in print so that we can directly compare the results for Portugal with the other seven countries in the original SOM project and the SOM book.

Carvalho, João, and Mariana Carmo Duarte. 2020. ‘The Politicization of Immigration in Portugal between 1995 and 2014: A European Exception?’ JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies.
Van der Brug, Wouter, Gianni D’Amato, Joost Berkhout, and Didier Ruedin, eds. 2015. The Politicisation of Migration. Abingdon: Routledge.

Come and join us: PhD position at the Swiss Forum for Migration Studies

Come and join us! The SFM is currently recruiting a PhD student (50% FTE, starting 1 January 2020, 4 years). You’ll be writing a doctoral thesis on citizenship or political mobilization related to human migration or human rights. You should have knowledge of Swiss and European migration policies and speak French, German, and English.

Deadine: 1 December 2019.


New publication: How South African Parties Do Not Politicize Immigration in Their Manifestos

I am happy to announce a new publication on how South African parties do not politicize immigration in their electoral manifestos, despite many indications that we can expect them to do so. In a country where xenophobia appears widespread, we can expect political parties to politicize immigration and take positions against immigrants.

In this paper, I wanted to do two things. On a methodological side, I wanted to know whether the approaches to coding electoral manifestos we have developed in the context of European parties works elsewhere. I have applied them to the US context, but South Africa would provide a tougher test. The keyword tests worked fine, and the qualitative discussions with colleagues were encouraging to press on. On a substantive side, I wanted to know whether South African parties as parties drive politicization, or whether individual politicians do so. The systematic analysis of the electoral manifestos reveals that parties as organizations do not politicize much against immigrants and immigration. In this sense, we cannot find evidence for this supposedly perverse upshot of the post-apartheid nation-building project where parties would politicize against immigrants to bolster internal cohesion: not parties as formal organizations. From other research and the media we know, though, that individual politicians certainly play a role in politicizing immigration in South Africa.

Ruedin, Didier. 2019. ‘South African Parties Hardly Politicise Immigration in Their Electoral Manifestos’. Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies 46 (1).

Ruedin, Didier. 2019. ‘Attitudes to Immigrants in South Africa: Personality and Vulnerability’. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 45 (7): 1108–26.

Ruedin, Didier, and Laura Morales. 2018. ‘Estimating Party Positions on Immigration: Assessing the Reliability and Validity of Different Methods’. Party Politics OnlineFirst.

1 RESEARCH ASSISTANT (15h/week, until 31 July 2019)

In the context of the NCCR ‘on the move’ ( we are looking for 1 research assistant to support research on the politicization of immigration in newspapers. We are now looking for one conscientious and reliable research assistant. You should be matriculated at the University of Neuchâtel, and will be expected to work relatively independently. You will search newspapers article in databases and code the contents of these articles following instructions. We offer somewhat flexible working hours (15h a week) and the ability to carry out some of the work from home. You will also be able to gain some insights in cutting-edge social science research. The position starts as soon as possible.